Other studies from this week's reading:
Noah is unique not in what happened during his life, but because of the quality of his life. He deserves special attention because he is one of 3 people singled out and named by God personally as being righteous:
Then the word of the Lord came to me saying, ‘Son of man, if a country sins against Me by committing unfaithfulness, and I stretch out My hand against it, destroy its supply of bread, send famine against it and cut off from it both man and beast, even though these three men, Noah, Daniel and Job were in its midst, by their own righteousness they could only deliver themselves,’ declares the Lord God.
These 3 are special because of their faithfulness—their walk with God—in which they never failed to follow His commandments and Word completely regardless of the earthly circumstances. In the story of Noah we not only have the teachings of baptism, divine covenants, and Final Judgment, but the ultimate example of the kind of spiritual walk towards which we should all strive.
6:5Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6The Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. 7The Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.” 8But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.
9These are the records of the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God. 10Noah became the father of three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
Q: What are the key qualities of Noah that differentiates the “righteous man” from the “wicked man”?
This is quite a contrast to the wicked, defined in v.5 as “every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
Q: What other person is described in Scripture in these terms?
A: “There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job; and that man was blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil.” (Job 1:1)
Application: If WE desire to find “favor in the eyes of the Lord”, what would WE have to do? How does our life contrast to the example of Noah?
11Now the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence. 12God looked on the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth.
13Then God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth.
14“Make for yourself an ark of gopher wood; you shall make the ark with rooms, and shall cover it inside and out with pitch. 15This is how you shall make it: the length of the ark three hundred cubits, its breadth fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. 16You shall make a window for the ark, and finish it to a cubit from the top; and set the door of the ark in the side of it; you shall make it with lower, second, and third decks.
17“Behold, I, even I am bringing the flood of water upon the earth, to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life, from under heaven; everything that is on the earth shall perish. 18But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. 19And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every kind into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female. 20Of the birds after their kind, and of the animals after their kind, of every creeping thing of the ground after its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive. 21As for you, take for yourself some of all food which is edible, and gather it to yourself; and it shall be for food for you and for them.”
22Thus Noah did; according to all that God had commanded him, so he did.
Q: Does God bring about judgment—particularly “final judgment”—without warning?
A: It only “seems” like it comes without warning because of the lack of attention provided by those on whom it comes. God always gives time for repentance by announcing His plans well in advance and communicating them through His messengers.
Q: How do we know that Noah was a messenger of God, warning of judgment, and not off by himself secretly building the ark?
A: In 1 Peter 2:5 Noah is referred to as “a preacher of righteousness”. In His day, EVERYONE “knew” about and even “believed” in God because of their fathers before them being so close in time to the Garden of Eden. So Noah did not need to try to convince anyone of the existence of God, but that they should live properly in the presence of God.
Q: How does biblical history define Noah’s actions?
By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.
A: He took God at His Word that He would do everything He said even though Noah had never seen, much less heard, of anything being done by God like this before. It’s summarized in v.22, “according to all that God had commanded him, so he did”.
Q: What is the evidence of God’s grace at work in His instructions to Noah?
A: “But I will establish My covenant with you”. (v.18) On the one side of the equation God devotes to total destruction those on whom His judgment is directed; on the opposite side stand those faithful to Him with whom He makes promises of safety and redemption as strong as the judgments pronounced on the others.
Application: Do you see that there are only 2 groups—those on whom judgment is promised and those who have a covenant with God? If obedience and faith are the key requirements, how easy/difficult is it to “jump” from one side to the other? Can you see it’s not something accomplished at the last moment but from the outset? [Hint: “Voting” for God is never enough.]
7:1Then the Lord said to Noah, “Enter the ark, you and all your household, for you alone I have seen to be righteous before Me in this time. 2You shall take with you of every clean animal by sevens, a male and his female; and of the animals that are not clean two, a male and his female; 3also of the birds of the sky, by sevens, male and female, to keep offspring alive on the face of all the earth. 4For after seven more days, I will send rain on the earth forty days and forty nights; and I will blot out from the face of the land every living thing that I have made.”
5Noah did according to all that the Lord had commanded him.
Q: Were there only two of each kind of animal taken onto the ark?
A: They all boarded two by two, but there were actually seven taken of every “clean animal”, that is those animals known to be acceptable for eating and sacrificing to God.
Q: But we’re a LONG way from the Law being given through Moses, so how does anyone know at this time what is “clean” or “unclean”?
A: This is a great illustration that God communicated information and commandments for which they were responsible that was not directly recorded in Scripture to this point, and reinforces the righteous character of Noah that he knew EXACTLY what the Lord meant.
Q: What is significant about v.4?
A: Up until this point, Noah had been working and preparing; now God set in motion the timetable for it to actually happen. It’s a lesson concerning Revelation and the End Times, in that until the seals are broken (Revelation 5:1) we are to be preaching and preparing.
10It came about after the seven days, that the water of the flood came upon the earth. 11In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on the same day all the fountains of the great deep burst open, and the floodgates of the sky were opened. 12The rain fell upon the earth for forty days and forty nights.
13On the very same day Noah and Shem and Ham and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah’s wife and the three wives of his sons with them, entered the ark, 14they and every beast after its kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth after its kind, and every bird after its kind, all sorts of birds. 15So they went into the ark to Noah, by twos of all flesh in which was the breath of life. 16Those that entered, male and female of all flesh, entered as God had commanded him; and the Lord closed it behind him.
Q: Why doesn’t Noah, in the presence of the rains and safely inside the ark, close the door himself?
A: The ark has not actually been lifted up off the ground by the floodwaters, so Noah knows that there is still time for others to run into the ark. He knows that it is up to God to decide when to finally close the door of opportunity for repentance.
Point: If you haven’t repented and been living an obedient life, when you see the signs of God’s judgment coming true, it is too late. The “final cut-off point” that man might choose is not the same designated by God. This is true during the Last Days where, in spite of the signs and wonders, men do not repent or change their ways, thus sealing their own fate long before God closes the door forever.
And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: they were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.
8:1But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the cattle that were with him in the ark; and God caused a wind to pass over the earth, and the water subsided. 2Also the fountains of the deep and the floodgates of the sky were closed, and the rain from the sky was restrained; 3and the water receded steadily from the earth, and at the end of one hundred and fifty days the water decreased.
4In the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark rested upon the mountains of Ararat. 5The water decreased steadily until the tenth month; in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, the tops of the mountains became visible.
6Then it came about at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made; 7and he sent out a raven, and it flew here and there until the water was dried up from the earth. 8Then he sent out a dove from him, to see if the water was abated from the face of the land; 9but the dove found no resting place for the sole of her foot, so she returned to him into the ark, for the water was on the surface of all the earth. Then he put out his hand and took her, and brought her into the ark to himself.
Q: What is so wonderfully significant about the phrase, “But God remembered”?
A: From the first day of rain until they finally come out of the ark on dry ground, 1 year and 10 days will pass. Although safe in the ark, everyone in the ark still experienced and witnessed God’s judgment. In spite of the length of time and all that went on, God never forgets His faithful and how to bring them safely through judgment. It might seem like a long time to those awaiting the outcome, but God does not forget nor act slowly.
Observation: It’s interesting that the “unclean” bird first used by Noah (the raven) is of no use compared to that of the “clean” bird, the dove.
Q: To what spiritual rite does Peter compare Noah’s experience?
For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water. Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you—not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience—through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him.
1 Peter 3:18-22
Q: What does Peter say is supposed to be the reason behind baptism? How does it compare with what we know about Noah?
A: “An appeal to God for a good conscience”. In other words, baptism is an outward sign of an inward condition, to be alive and obedient to God’s ways and dead to all of the old. This is the very character of Noah, the “preacher of righteousness”, an example of being blameless before God.
13Now it came about in the six hundred and first year, in the first month, on the first of the month, the water was dried up from the earth. Then Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and behold, the surface of the ground was dried up. 14In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was dry.
15Then God spoke to Noah, saying, 16“Go out of the ark, you and your wife and your sons and your sons’ wives with you. 17Bring out with you every living thing of all flesh that is with you, birds and animals and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, that they may breed abundantly on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.”
18So Noah went out, and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives with him. 19Every beast, every creeping thing, and every bird, everything that moves on the earth, went out by their families from the ark.
Q: Noah sent out a raven, a dove three times, and even removed the cover from the ark; but he never actually left the ark. Why?
A: He waited for God to decide when the event was finished and to provide instructions.
Point: Noah never assumes anything based on the circumstances, whether leading up to judgment or after it’s subsided.
Application: How do we make our decisions—based on how the circumstances look or by God’s direction and interpretation of them? How should we be more like Noah in this regard? How does the following Scripture apply:
For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment; and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; and if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter; and if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men (for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds), then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority.
2 Peter 2:4-10a
20Then Noah built an altar to the Lord, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar. 21The Lord smelled the soothing aroma; and the Lord said to Himself, “I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth; and I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done.
22“While the earth remains,
Seedtime and harvest,
And cold and heat,
And summer and winter,
And day and night Shall not cease.”
Point: It is important to note that during the process of a covenant being made by God, a sacrifice is necessary. This is a teaching related to the Messiah in the necessity of blood being shed. For every covenant made between man and God, something has to be sacrificed to complete the deal.
9:1And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. 2The fear of you and the terror of you will be on every beast of the earth and on every bird of the sky; with everything that creeps on the ground, and all the fish of the sea, into your hand they are given. 3Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant. 4Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. 5Surely I will require your lifeblood; from every beast I will require it. And from every man, from every man’s brother I will require the life of man.
6“Whoever sheds man’s blood,
By man his blood shall be shed,
For in the image of God He made man.
7As for you, be fruitful and multiply;
Populate the earth abundantly and
multiply in it.”
Q: Do these instructions sound familiar? To whom were they previously given?
A: These are the same instructions as originally given to mankind through Adam, the issue of bloodshed having been learned through Cain and Abel.
Q: Since God started over again with Noah, did He also start over again in terms of His commandments and expectations?
A: No; they remain unchanged.
Point: What God states in the beginning remains the same regardless of mankind’s failures to obey or attempts to redefine. Just as God provides the same guidelines to Noah as He originally gave Adam, so He wrote the Ten Commandments a second time exactly as written the first time when they were smashed.
Application: What things exist today that you think have “changed” and that Scripture no longer apply as they did in days past? Marriage and divorce? Relationships? Tithing of all resources? List anything that comes to mind and give an explanation of why you feel this way. Can you honestly say that your feeling is biblically based and that God has truly changed it?
8Then God spoke to Noah and to his sons with him, saying, 9“Now behold, I Myself do establish My covenant with you, and with your descendants after you; 10and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you; of all that comes out of the ark, even every beast of the earth. 11I establish My covenant with you; and all flesh shall never again be cut off by the water of the flood, neither shall there again be a flood to destroy the earth.”
12God said, “This is the sign of the covenant which I am making between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all successive generations; 13I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth. 14It shall come about, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow will be seen in the cloud, 15and I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and never again shall the water become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16When the bow is in the cloud, then I will look upon it, to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.”
17And God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth.”
Q: If a sacrifice is always required of a covenant, what is another common requirement?
A: A sign. In this case, the rainbow.
Q: How does this compare to the covenant God will make with Abraham?
A: A sacrifice was effected, and the sign of the covenant was given to be circumcision.
Application: How does this apply to the work of Christ and the new covenant?
Q: How does a covenant work? Is it in force no matter what? Is it some kind of protection or guarantee regardless of how the parties act in the future?
A: It requires obedience and faithfulness on the part of both parties. Because God never wavers from faithfulness on His part, the problem is always on the part of mankind. This is why Abraham actually declined to follow through with the transaction on his part because he knew that while God would always be eternally faithful, as a man Abraham would not. Every covenant carries with it the responsibility of obedience and faithfulness.
Q: Going back to the fact that God identifies Noah, Job and Daniel as the highest ideals of man, what other things do they all have in common in terms of what went on during their life?
A: All of them underwent trials no one else had undergone before; all were tested and never wavered. Each had to trust God regardless of the circumstances and each had to defend the name of God. (List other things as you think of them.)